Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom: Or, the Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery

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In this short work of 1860, William Craft (c.1825-1900), assisted by his wife Ellen (c.1825-91), recounts the remarkable story of how they escaped from slavery in America. Having married as slaves in Georgia, yet unwilling to raise a family in servitude, the couple came up with a plan to disguise the light-skinned Ellen as a man, with William acting as her slave, and to travel to the north in late 1848. This compelling narrative traces their successful journey to Philadelphia and their subsequent move to Boston, where they became involved in abolitionist activities. Later, the couple sought greater safety in England, where they lived for a number of years and had five children. A success upon its first appearance, the book touches on the themes of race, gender and class in mid-nineteenth-century America, offering modern readers a first-hand account of how barriers to freedom could be overcome.